Don and Susan Elmore live in Somerset but the recognize the historical importance of Stanford and the fort built here. “It was the crossroads of pioneer migration,” Don Elmore said. “All of the roads in this part of country ran through here.”
Don, a retired high school history teacher, and Susan, who still teaches as a substitute, have a passion for history and made that passion come to life in a diorama of Logan’s Fort on display the the downtown Stanford branch of First Southern Bank. The couple spent six months with the help of friends recreating, as accurately as possible, the fort and the people who lived in and around it.
Don said that it is important for them to be as historically accurate as possible and that his family took many pictures and measurements of the area to ensure that the size and placement of all of the objects in their HO scale model were correct. Don said his daughter walked out into a pond on the site on a winter day to get a picture they needed for their model.
The work is incredibly detailed, with over 100 human and animal figures, each painted by hand by a friend. “He has those paint brushes with one hair on them,” Don said. The Elmore’s collected many of the objects in the model from the Logan’s Fort site itself. Small rocks from the old fort site become boulders and sticks become logs in their creation.
Susan Elmore builds all of the buildings, which include those that comprise the fort, surrounding cabins and what Don said was the only grist mill in Kentucky. There is even a modern representation of the ice house now on the site that can be placed in the diorama temporarily to give scale and perspective.
Though the Elmore’s are sticklers for detail, they also have used their imagination in their vision of Logan’s Fort. The centerpiece, the fort itself, is portrayed as it was in May of 1777, under attack by the Shawnee who are included in the display. But visitors will also see British soldiers on a hill overlooking the fort that were never their. Don says they were included so visitors would no that the Shawnee had been encouraged by the British to attack the three Kentucky forts as part of the Revolutionary War.
Moving from east to west in the display, the scene becomes more peaceful. West of the fort are cabins and a farm that portray the more pastoral aspects of frontier living with family members going about their chores unaware of the violence at the fort.
The Elmore’s, who have two other large dioramas on display in Monticello, say that they don’t know how long their work will be available for viewing at First Southern, but hope that it will become part of the permanent display at the Logan’s Fort Welcome Center when that project is completed.